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Asian-Australas J Anim Sci > Accepted Articles
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.19.0511    [Accepted] Published online October 21, 2019.
Extended nursing and/or increased starter diet allowances for low weaning weight pigs
Aimee-Louise Craig1,*  , Ramon Muns1,*  , Alan Gordon2  , Elizabeth Magowan1,2 
1Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Hillsborough, Northern Ireland BT26 6DR, UK
2Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Newforge Lane, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT9 5PX, UK
Correspondence:  Aimee-Louise Craig, Tel: +44-2892681587, Fax: +44-2892682484, Email: aimee.craig@afbini.gov.uk
Ramon Muns,Email: ramon.muns@afbini.gov.uk
Received: 20 June 2019   • Revised: 24 July 2019   • Accepted: 3 October 2019
To evaluate the use of nurse sows and post-weaning nutrition strategies for low wean weight (WW) pigs on lifetime growth and efficiency.
Animals (n = 270) were assigned to one of five treatments at 28 d. Low WW pigs (< 6 kg) were either weaned and offered a special dietary regime recommended for low WW pigs (WEAN) or placed on a nurse sow (NURSE) and weaned at 49 d. Normal WW pigs (9 kg) (NORM) were also weaned at 28 d. After weaning, NORM and NURSE pigs were offered either a ‘High’ (4 kg/pig of Starter 1 diet followed by 8 kg/pig of Starter 2 diet) or ‘Low’ (8 kg/pig of Starter 2 diet) starter diet allowance in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement. A typical grower diet was then offered, followed by a typical finisher diet until 147 d of age.
NORM pigs where heavier throughout their life compared to NURSE pigs (91.4 kg vs. 76.2 kg at 147 d; P < 0.001). WEAN pigs were heavier at 70 d compared to NURSE pigs (23.9 kg vs. 21.0 kg; P < 0.001), but there was no significant difference at 147 d between NURSE and WEAN treatments. NURSE pigs had reduced feed intake throughout the finishing period (1.6 kg/d; P < 0.001) compared to WEAN (2.0 kg/d) and NORM (1.9 kg/d) pigs. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) of NURSE (2.20) was lower than NORM and WEAN during the finishing period (2.40, and 2.79, respectively).
Extended (up to 49 d) nursing for low WW pigs resulted in improved FCR during the finishing period, but no overall improvement in growth rate compared to low WW pigs weaned at 28 d and offered a specialised starter regime. Normal WW pigs where significantly heavier than low WW pigs throughout the study.
Keywords: Starter Diet; Nurse Sow; Mortality; Light Weight Pigs; Weaning; Growth
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